As more and more of our day-to-day life enters the digital realm, the physical boundaries that once separated us as individuals, are becoming increasingly thin. Indeed, the digital world envelopes us; we communicate, trade and transact online in ways that are incredibly convenient and accessible — so accessible that it makes us vulnerable to new and sophisticated ways of fraud. In 2017, nearly 16.7 million people were victims of identity fraud in the United States alone, with fraudsters stealing over $16.8 billion. And it’s not just individuals, but also businesses (both large and small) that are at risk of being defrauded by bad actors.
For the millions affected by fraud, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) has marked November 11 to 17 as the International Fraud Week, a global initiative to raise awareness about fraud prevention and anti-fraud education.
During #FraudWeek, a question we can ask ourselves to support our friends, family and colleagues, should be, “What can I do today to reduce my risk of fraud?”
We did some research and collated a list of best practices for you.
How organizations can minimize fraud
The ACFE recommends five basic steps to immediately reduce a company’s vulnerability to fraud.
- Be proactive: Adopt a code of ethics for management and employees. All employees should be held accountable when doing their due diligence with regard to fraud prevention, and should understand the nature of fraud and how it can occur in the workplace
- Establish hiring procedures: As business functions evolve and companies continue to grow and scale, security controls — including those that encompass hiring processes — will need to evolve as well. Always reassess the risks when hiring new staff, as the information that they are privy to, could compromise your organization
- Train employees in fraud prevention: Be aware of what type of fraud your business could face on a daily basis. Is your business more vulnerable to credit and debit card fraud, or is identity theft the main concern? By understanding the threats that could harm your company, you can tailor risk assessment and mitigation strategies to address any potential threats and vulnerabilities
- Implement a fraud notification system: Did you know that 52% of business fraud is perpetrated by people inside the organization? If your organization has a secure, confidential communication “hotline” in play, you can trust your employees to be more open and transparent upon seeing or hearing about fraudulent activities in the workplace
- Increase awareness: Communicating and educating your staff regarding anti-fraud policies and techniques can be an excellent line of defence against threats. Empower those in your business so that they have the knowledge to do their part in maintaining the security of your business systems and information.
How individuals can protect themselves against fraud
As an individual, protecting yourself from identity theft is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of being targeted by a cybercriminal. The Government of Canada has a variety of resources to help you recognize malicious attempts aimed at stealing and misusing your personal information. Based on these resources, here are some tips:
- Never openly provide personal information online: Your personally identifiable information (PII) is at risk when you share it with illegitimate entities. Be on the look out for false companies; identify any socially engineered red flags and do your research before coming to a decision on sharing your information
- Keep any proof of authentication to yourself: Never give away important passwords, access codes or authentication information. Fraudsters will undoubtedly use this information for nefarious purposes, and attempt to access important accounts which can result in identity theft, financial losses or even reputational damage
- Be cautious of phishing attempts: Sometimes, the offer is just too good to be true. Avoid clicking any links in emails that ask for your information or put your personal details at risk. Some other common red flags to look out for, are unusual senders, attachments, hyperlinks, or offers in exchange for information
- Scan through deceptive websites: Copycat sites often pose as legitimate entities but, in reality, they are set up to take your personal information. Do your due diligence and consider doing a quick online search on these websites. More often than not, you will be able to find evidence of a legitimate or illegitimate entity through reviews, forums, social media channels and more
- Regularly check your credit reports: Nearly 15.4 million people were victims of identity theft, a major contributor to global card fraud losses of $22.8 billion in 2016. Unauthorized transactions and fraudulent attempts on your wallet could happen when you least expect it, so check the little details when analyzing your account statements.
How identity verification and authentication can help reduce fraud
Identity verification and authentication tools can play a highly instrumental role in minimizing fraud. Trulioo, for instance, helps tech companies, online marketplaces, banks, along with traditional and alternative financial services, take a more preventative approach to combating fraud. GlobalGateway, Trulioo’s flagship product, helps its clients instantly verify the identity of their customers by providing them with secure access to over 400 trusted identity data sources across the world, along with anti-money laundering (AML) and other watchlists. With Trulioo, organizations can, right at the outset, become aware of whether their customer’s stated identity checks out or not, or indeed if their customer has been placed on a watchlist on account of their actions in the past.
We, at Trulioo, are passionate about fighting the good fight against fraud, and fully support #FraudWeek. To get involved with the International Fraud Awareness week, join the discussion by following the hashtag #FraudWeek and @TheAFCE on Twitter.